Thanks to the Democratic leadership in the U.S. House and Senate, who persevered in the face of ongoing Republican obstruction, Missouri will receive almost $400 million dollars to stave off teacher layoffs and cuts in Medicaid. This means, as Michael Bersin pointed out earlier, that jobs have been saved. Many of our neediest have been given breathing space for another year. The state, which is balancing on the edge of a fiscal knife, may avoid, for one more year at least, transformation into the third-world outpost that GOP legislative leaders seem to want to create.
It’s no surprise, though, that those same just-say-no Republicans who tried to kill the bill are hell-bent on distorting this tiny extension of stimulus spending.
Blaine Luetkemeyer, for instance, wants to turn the tables and present his obstruction as an effort to save jobs:
It was a bad bill, pure and simple. It’s another bailout,” Luetkemeyer said. “Our challenge is to find ways to help businesses keep doing what they’re doing.
Luetkemeyer is partially right. Finding ways to help small businesses grow and expand is important if we are going to crawl out of this recession – but the way to do it is not to destroy the consumer base that provides the fuel for economic growth.
Todd Akin tried another tack: play on the sense of resentment that seems to animate so many Republicans. Akin asks us to begrudge the money going to those grasshoppers in spendthrift states who fiddled while industrious Missouri ants suffered and cut their social spending right through to the bones of the neediest among them:
It wasn’t easy but our legislature balanced Missouri’s budget. And most Missourians individually make difficult and responsible spending choices every day. Yet today’s bill will force Missourians – and all Americans – to spend the next decade paying off six months of new spending, most of which will benefit states that had neither the courage nor the wisdom to balance their own budgets.
The next decade paying it off? Akin is more economically challenged than I thought – the bill is not only “paid-for” out of cuts elsewhere, but it will cut $1 billion from the deficit.
Roy Blunt couldn’t be bothered to vote on this spendig bill because he was too busy campaigning in Missouri – which is to say gallivanting around the state lying about his record as a leader of the Republican Congress responsible for a recession that cost the country nearly eight million jobs. When the Carnahan campaign called him on his dereliction, however, he quickly jumped on the resentment and begrudgery band-wagon so capably driven by Akin:
Now she’s [i.e., Carnahan] supporting another $26.1 billion bailout for states that have failed to manage their budgets so they can kick the can down the road another year. Missourians are saying ‘enough is enough.
I don’t know about all the Missourians that Blunt evidently thinks he speaks for, but this Missourian has had enough. Enough of lies about the stimulus, enough of obstruction, and more than enough of what is happening to our state because these prime jackasses think that they can keep on keeping on if only they make sure that the economy tanks so they can blame it on the Democrats. Ezra Klein eloquently sums the situation up:
…there’s no debate over what state and local aid does: It allows the continuation of programs that are already ongoing, the preservation of jobs that people already occupy, the protection of tax rates that are currently in place. It doesn’t promote economic expansion, which is a somewhat uncertain business. It prevents economic contraction, which is a much more predictable project.
If states have to cut $120 billion from their budgets, that money — and the things it does — will just leave the economy. There will be fewer jobs, higher taxes, less financial aid. None of that is speculative. There’s no theory in which it doesn’t happen.